Congress Has a Duty to Investigate the Iran Deal
Machiavelli, the father and founder of modern political science, was a diplomat. As well as a writer and political philosopher, and yes, a poet and playwright. He lived, needless to say, in dangerous times. Especially for diplomats who had to navigate the treacherous waters of intrigue and conflict between Italian city states and greater powers like France and the Vatican.
It is still being debated centuries later whether Machiavelli’s The Prince was a how-to book for evil tyrants. Or a warning from someone who was a staunch republican. Means and ends and the conflicts between them wind their way through his work, like a serpent. Or a shining path to a greater goal.
The founding fathers had clearly read Machiavelli and arguably used his warnings in forging the constitution. Their great idea of the separation of powers, for example, arises from a bleak view of the foibles of human nature, but also gives rise to a great sense of the possibilities we can achieve under a properly constructed republican (and democratic) government.
So in asking what the hell - in Dante's use of the word - Secretary Kerry and Treasury were up to when paying 1.7 billion to Iran, Senator Cruz has gone to the heart of America's governing principles.
Yes, it's also a partisan attack. But one suspects that Ted Cruz's leading the call for a Congressional inquiry into whether the payments to Iran were in fact legal, would have been carried out regardless of who was in the Oval Office at the time. And the founding fathers set up the constitution to channel the sweaty, baser instincts of an ambitious politician towards an equilibrium that can achieve justice. And do so in ever more perfect ways, even as that justice is never without flaws.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Iran Deal in other words, seeks to bind Iran into an international regime of sanctions and inspections. It's modern precedent goes back to the Congress of Vienna in 1815 which sought to bind a post-Napoleonic France into continental Europe's political system. And thus save Europe from the ravages of his Imperial war-mongering ideology. Fast forward through Kaiser's Germany and the Nazi nightmare and the EU emerging as sclerotic bureaucracy charged with making sure Germany never again invades it's neighbors, and we have Obama now having attempted to do the same with Iran.
The problem is two-fold. Means and ends. Obama gets both wrong. The end is impossible with a virulent theocracy bent on sabotaging America and destroying Israel. And the means are suspicious at best. Why isn't State releasing any information on how the payments were made? By what route did the 13 payments of $99,999,999.99, 13 cents short of 1.3 billion, make their way from Treasury to Iran's bank accounts? Treasury? Hello? Anything to say please?
Congress has more than a right, it has a duty to investigate these payments, using a full inquiry to get to the bottom of the matter. We are dealing with a soon-to-be nuclear Iran, which may someday not too far in the future have missiles with nuclear warheads. All as a result of Obama getting both the means and ends wrong. And forcing Kerry to be his truth-bending courier. Machiavellian indeed, but in all the ways that the diplomat from Florence warned against.Posted by AllardK at September 2, 2016 12:08 PM